Sunday, 30 October 2011

This weekend

Yesterday hardly any birding was had, except for looking in at The Whitburn cp after a certain trainee ringer let a few folk know about a Firecrest he had just rung and released. After a few abusive texts from the folk he let know I headed down there. Poor lad had been that excited beeing a first ringing wise for him. My luck was in as the bird was re-trapped in the short time period I was present so a couple of "birds in the hand" shots were had. As always a warm welcome at the ringing hut and plenty of banter.
Had a short walk with Jan on the outskirts of Shearwater later in the day and only picked up a pair of Blackcaps of note.

Myself and Jan dropped into Marine park after this....As I always say the place is a creche for Herring gulls. But this shot sorts of proves it! lol. The young gull wouldn't let any other bird near its dummy.

Another one from yesterday, lovely little bird. Only I think about the 5th Ive seen.

And today members of the Coastal Conservation Group helped out on a 7 mile walk organised by the National Trust. Unfortunately the wardens at Souter could'nt make the walk and our group was asked to step in and help out, which we did. So it was a ramblers "meets" wildlife watchers group today. This walk from a wildlife watchers front would have taken all day... but it was only advertised as a 3/4 hour walk and we had to press on. But everyone who attended seemed to really enjoy the walk and quite a few where really interested in the wildlife that was pointed out to them. Job done! and loved every minute of it!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Just love a all day visit up north.

A trip organised over the last few weeks came off yesterday with a fine mix of folk attending. First off we headed for Holy island and picked all the usual waders whilst crossing the causeway here and plenty of Pinkies on the move. A nice walk followed around the main part of the island and Davy F. picked out a Spotted Redshank on the small pond area just south of the Toilets. Nice start! Plenty thrush's along the straight Lonnen mainly Redwings and Blackbirds also Skylarks heard everywhere on the island, many in full flight song. We tried to turn Kestrel and Sparrowhawk into Merlin on the way around the dunes area....but it just wasn't happening.

Then a rest up beside the tower produced Red breasted Merganser,C.Scoter,Red throated divers and one of the lads picked up a Red necked grebe (Davy G.). A scan towards the mainland from here showed Brent geese in good numbers.

Another lovely visit to one of my favourite places with nice weather conditions too!. Even if nowt rearly rare showed.

Off down to East Chevington next- Wow the place is lifting at the moment with wildfowl!

Had to be at least 1500 Pinkies along with a good flock of Greylags and with them the 3 Bar-headed geese. Also a canny size flock of Barnacles flew in and landed in a field here. A pair of Pintails and a imm. Great crested grebe with the thousands of other commoner waterfowl here also. The water level here at the moment is excellent for waders and a good number where just infront of the southern hide area including Ruff's and Knots.

I also picked up a late Swallow going over the south pool here.

Cresswell was the next stop off- Not long after getting out the cars here 13 Whooper swans dropped into a field behind the pond and a large number of Pinkies present in around the same area here. As soon as we had entered the hide a lad here put us all onto 2 Jack snipe just infront of it. My best views and a few others present of this species( more used to "spooking" them whilst walking around). Excellent to watch the birds feeding whilst "bobbing" away, almost comical!. A family group of Whoopers present on the pond ( 3 juvs,2 adults) another R.B merganser and our only Dabchick on this trip. A group of Knots (40+) being the highlight wader wise here except for the snipe. And the only Stonechat encountered up north today was seen by the parking area here.

Clearest shot I got of the Jack snipe, it was'nt a great day for photo's but excellent all the same.

And our last stop off was Marden quarry on the way home..( no its not a spelling mistake this one is in Whitely bay). My first visit here along with just about everyone elses on the trip. Really nice place that I never knew existed.

It didn't take long before the star bird here was picked up across the other side of the flooded old quarry area. Only my second Lesser scaup and also another lads in our company in over 40 years of birding, along with being lifers for some. So this was a little special!

With the light going fast and the duck not wanting to approach closer than the middle of the lake here in the 30 minutes or so we where here, these are the best record shots I got.

A full day with excellent company to sites myself and others love to visit.

And thanks goes to a certain N/land. lad regards updates info. etc.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

What a bird!

Opening day on pub I've been working on and as expected ...Madness! some contracts just run in nicely whilst others its a headless chicken effort at the end. This one was a bit of the latter mentioned, more like a car boot sale with seats etc. out on the pavement during the morning. But did get my first Fieldfares for this winter over the Mackem land about 30 birds passing over the city centre, whilst going for a sarnie at 10 this morning.
Around dinner time I had put my phone on charge away from the area I was working in. Viewed it on passing 10 minutes later and felt sick... "Blue tail" netted and release time 12.45. (Cheers Mark).
A few brief conversations followed at work after viewing this news ...."Sorry have to have my dinner break now!" and off I it or lump it.
This time scale and how this came about I am sorry I could'nt pass the info. on to others.(which I try to do always).

Mobile phone shots.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Double the pleasure!

Another wander down the Trow area this late morning produced a unforgetable experience. Whilst the main quarry area was pretty much as dead as a Dodo a treat was in store for me and Jan a little further south.
Nowt much in the bay areas on this visit except for a single Wheatear and a couple of Rock pipits. A Red throated diver off here with increasing numbers of Shags present.
We also met another welcomed visitor here today - Mr JG who informed us someone had seen "the" Lapland bunting thats been here the last couple of days this morning.
So we headed towards the area where Ian Mc. had first picked the bird up in and was present there yesterday. Unforgently it takes Jan a great effort these days to manage such a walk especially in windy conditions but she managed it and a Snipe was encounted coming in off the sea along the way.
When we all reached the area Jan parked here arse with Max and me and Jimmy went in search of the bunting. Jimmy picked up not one but two together! just a bit further south from yesterdays views. They flew off towards Jan and I could see she had picked them up in flight whilst sat here....

What followed was fantasic! the two birds settled to feed just below the main cliff line on rocks and grassed areas here. We all sat down on the small overhang here and watched them feeding (including Max who watched with interest). Well they just went about thier daily business and approached closer and closer! until they where only about just over 10 feet away.( my lens will not still focus below this..thats how I know;-) )

One of the birds appears to be a shade lighter than the other, if I had to pick which one if either was here yesterday I would say the darker coloured one. But the Leas is a vast expanse of grassland and a regular spot to see these buntings over the years, so who knows how many other Lapland buntings are around here at the moment?

This weekends encounter with Linnets here has been limited to say the least, only one small-ish flock of 30 or so yesterday, Skylarks and a few med.pips. passing thro- yesterday not so many today. Its a few years since we witnessed flocks of Goldfinch and Linnets up to 300 strong here late summer.

Very enjoyable 30 minutes or so watching these two birds at close quarters.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

My first Lapland bunting this year.

A text from a local lad yesterday had me wishing certain circumstances did'nt interfer with enjoying the best our area has to offer at certain times of year, especially around Autumn.!
Thankfully this Lapland bunting was more or less in the same spot as the finder had picked it up in yesterday and he passed the sighting on again today whilst myself and another Jarra lad visited.

Well done that man !

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Ups and downs.

Its been a few weeks since Ive updated the blog mainly due to other commitments etc. but after talking to a few folk today I thought I would pass on my observations etc.

Two weekends back my weekend( along with other like minded folks) was focused on helping the Coastal Conservations Groups fund raising issues. The National Trust allowed us again this year to man the gate to Whitburn Coastal park and apply a small cover charge for any vistors who where parking here for the GNR. I have to say some of the National trusts members even made a contribution along with other local folk who where exempt to the parking charge here once they knew all the money went back into improving our area. I thank everyone!!!!.

The lads continued to ring during the Sunday morning here and a cracking Pied Flycatcher was the highlight.

Last weekend- Saturday

Visited Trow first off-

Two Little Owls on show, one of them I am certain is the bird from the other end of the quarry (bad foot) so the Little owl debate here continues ...

About 12 Wheatears passed thro- the first bay whilst we where here about mid-day..ish. a movement of birds not reported by other lads visiting here today regards numbers etc.

Sandwich terns feed off the bays, about 8 of them.

A single Knot still present over the last few days here.

And Jan and myself enjoyed the sight of over 100 "Pinkies" going south over here along with 3 Brent geese in the formation. (The lass does get excited with geese.)

Whitburn steel visit followed this day-

Highlights beeing- 2 Barwits, 2 Purple sandpipers and loads of returning waders. Except for the numbers of Sanderling, this hopefully will change in the coming weeks.

This Med. gull seemed in a bad way, no idea what this is sticking out of the bird??

Possibly my last shots of terns on our soil until next year...From Whitburn last week.

A certain Sandhill crane passed thro- our boro on Thursday, some lucky gits managed to connect to the bird whilst the rest of us looking out for it "Dipped" the Murphies "I'm not bitter"..(Lucky S**tbags).


Travelled to Hawthorn dene with Jan and Max, nowt great here but a nice short walk( tad early yet for here me thinks). This was after hearing about a Yellow-browed ringed in the coastal park early doors. So continued south(daft lad) for a few brief visits to Saltholme's carpark hide, Dormans, Zinc road and Ward Jackson park....Pants really but a nice trip out, great to catch up with a few familar faces and have a rattle in the short time we where here.

On the return journey home Jan mentioned calling into the Coastal park (after Jas had let me know of a re-trapped Yellow-browed). What a result this turned out to be!

In the short we where here a Willow tit (only the second recording at this site of this species I know of) was bagged!. Also our first Redwing of this winter.